Friends, the timeless sitcom that features the lives of six friends starring Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe in New York City, still echoes its comedic resonance all over the world, even more than 20 years after its debut.  With its witty comedies and emotional moments, it shows its unparalleled ability to make people of every age and generation laugh and connect, even today, thanks to the online streaming service. The all-time iconic Friends series is continuing to leave its indelible mark on television history. But according to writer Patty Lin, the onscreen friends weren’t the same as in off-screen.

Patty Lin reveals the unseen side of the iconic show Friends

The Friends writer, Patty Lin, reveals her hard time working with the wit-packed show. In her new book, End Credits: How I Broke Up With Hollywood (via Time), Lin recalls her time writing for the Friends series. Backed with experiences from renowned shows like Freaks and GeeksDesperate Housewives, and Breaking Bad, Lin reveals the Friends cast wasn’t welcoming to her. Lin admits that she experienced a kind of cultural isolation among the crew.

A photo of Friends cast
Friends cast

Lin, who retired from television at the ripe age of 38, encountered unfair treatment while she worked on Friends. Lin remembers that during the grueling 12-hour days in the writing room, where s-x was a frequent topic of conversation. Lin was so excited when she was called to work for Friends; she says it was like a privilege to be a crew member of the popular show, but her excitement went flash in the pan.

According to Lin’s timeline, she worked on Friends during season 7, when the entire year was devoted to preparing for Monica and Chandler’s wedding. She reveals that the Friends actors, who seem as happy as we see them on the screen; wanted to try out some different things because they have been stuck in the particular show for years. This creative rut was influenced while directing the scenes, wondering if the script would specifically serve them.

They all knew how to get a laugh, but if they didn’t like a joke, they seemed to deliberately tank it, knowing we’d rewrite it. Dozens of good jokes would get thrown out just because one of them had mumbled the line through a mouthful of bacon. David and Marta never said, “This joke is funny. The actor just needs to sell it.”

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Monica and Chandler from season 7
Monica and Chandler

She continued that when the actors discussed the scene and were asked to give an opinion, they probably stagnated and rarely said anything positive. Whenever they found something critical about the script, they didn’t come up with a solution to it.

“Seeing themselves as guardians of their characters, they often argued that they would never do or say such and such. That was occasionally helpful, but overall, these sessions had a dire, aggressive quality that lacked all the levity you’d expect from the making of a sitcom.”

Lin said she always felt like an outsider in Friends. Her co-writers always thought it was a big deal to write for the sitcom; “the writers refer to the act of telling people they wrote for Friends as “dropping the F-bomb.” Lin had no desire to drop the bomb, which she felt was ethically discomforting.

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Patty Lin admits she was tired of writing for Friends.

Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and David Schwimmer of the TV show Friend's attend the 21st Annual People's Choice Awards
Friends cast winning the 21st Annual People’s Choice Awards

Patty Lin threw in the towel after working for all 24 episodes of season 7 and didn’t come back for season 8. After a couple of seasons, The Friends wrapped up its 10th season, which was due to various reasons. The cast members were no longer interested in continuing. Jennifer Aniston was undergoing a personal crisis. Similarly, Lisa Kudrow shared that a few of the cast members were about to depart the show, while others wanted to continue the project. From there, the production faced costly setbacks given that the main six were earning an astounding $1 billion for every episode.

The writers were invited to the ceremony, and Lin lingered behind the others when all the members urged to receive the trophy. She concludes,

“I stood behind the others, feeling like I didn’t deserve to be up there at all. I didn’t learn that much, except that I never wanted to work on a sitcom again. But the choice had been clear at the time. And, for better or worse, Friends would remain my most recognizable credit.”

The iconic sitcom Friends is streaming on Netflix.

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Source: TIME

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